Reflecting the big issues examined in this year’s film lineup, the Copenhagen Documentary Film Festival’s (CPH:DOX) industry section likewise grapples with such major topics as climate change, biodiversity and the tectonic shifts being felt far and wide in the global political and economic order.
The industry sidebar comprises the Forum financing and co-production event; the Conference series; the on-demand Market screening platform; the Lab talent development program; the Hub meeting and networking event; the educational Talents initiative; and the new Inter:Active Symposium, which focuses on new media.
Forum will present 35 selected co-production projects in various stages. While the projects can be in any stage of development, they have to officially launch at the Forum and not have participated in previous pitching events.
“In terms of the curation or how we select, the overall curation of the festival also counts for what we do in the industry department – it’s the same things we’re looking for in terms of quality and relevance,” says Katrine Kiilgaard, CPH:DOX’s deputy director and head of industry and training (pictured).
One trend seen throughout this year’s industry events is the presence of major issues like biodiversity and climate change, which are seeping into many kinds of documentary storytelling, from artistic projects to politically charged works and even personal stories, Kiilgaard says.
“You see those issues being addressed from many different angles. Projects show the complexity of the world, where we are no longer seeing just climate from a very natural history angle but rather how it is interconnected with politics, gender, social issues, economy and so on – a very, very complex world is being portrayed in the films that we are selecting.”
Among this year’s Forum co-production projects is Lars Ostenfeld’s “Into the Ice,” which follows a group of scientists as they descend deep into Greenland’s ice sheet to find out how fast the ice at the poles is melting.
The selection also includes Mariam Ghani’s “Dis-Ease,” which explores the history of contagious diseases, including the current COVID-19 pandemic, and questions why such public health crises are treated as a matter of national security.
Juan Palacios and Sofie Husum Johannesen’s “Before the Storm” examines the tiny Danish Wadden Sea island of Mandø and its 32 inhabitants, who are fighting to remain there despite the looming danger that climate change-induced storms could soon wipe it out.
Lech Kowalski’s “A Little Story About an Immeasurable Problem” follows a former city boy and amateur rock ‘n’ roll guitarist in the French Basque region near Spain who is trying to change the role of farming as we know it and contributing to the fight against global warming.
Since its inception, Forum has used categories such as Art, Fact, FictiononFiction, Cinema and Science to classify its wide-ranging selection, which includes works from artists and investigative journalists as well as hybrid pics that straddle fiction and non-fiction, cinematic documentaries and films that explore scientific subject matter.
The Conference program likewise tackles some weighty and timely issues, with such overarching sections as “Rebuild:Democracy,” “Redistribute:Economy,” “Representation:Power,” “Rebellion:Climate” and “Resilience:Culture.”
“What happens within the film and media industry has such high relevance to the rest of the world and also reflects what happens in the rest of the world, so let’s try and create and curate a conference that is relevant to not only the cultural sector at large, but also to people outside the cultural sector,” says festival CEO Tine Fischer. “That’s why we have these themes like democracy and representation. Basically, it’s burning topics within so many sectors in the world, not only the cultural sector.”
Taking place for the second time online, CHP:DOX has used its new digital space to expand the Conference program.
This year’s Hub event, which has likewise expanded online to offer new market meetings and flexible spaces for participants to meet and greet, is hosting a number of international film industry delegations, including participants from Italy, Britain, Poland, Scotland, Quebec, Chile and Egypt.
Hub will also feature a series of talks with invited broadcasters, distributors, art exhibitors and festival representatives to address the challenges of the rapidly changing film market.